Hawaiʻi’s First Urban Rooftop Farm

Hawaiʻi’s First Urban Rooftop Farm

Hawaiʻi rolled out its first organic, urban rooftop farm in Kakaʻako on Wednesday.  FarmRoof founder Alan Joaquin in partnership with landowner Kamehameha Schools installed the first phase of its 38,000 square-foot farm. Organic kale, arugula and mustard greens, should be ready for harvest in just three weeks.

For more information visit FarmRoof.

For information on Kamehameha Schools’ plan Kakaʻako, go to the “Kaiāulu o Kakaʻako” website.

For the full master plan, go to the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority’s website: Kamehameha Schools Kakaʻako Master Plan

Ke hoʻokiʻekiʻe nei ʻo Alan Joaquin i ka pae o ka mahi ʻai ʻana i kekahi pae hou aʻe – he pae maoli nō! ʻO Joaquin ka mea nāna i hoʻokumu i ka pāʻoihana no Waimānalo i kapa ʻia ʻo FarmRoof.

“Na mākou ka māla kaupoku ʻokanika mua loa. A he mea ia e haʻaheo ai ko Hawaiʻi,” wahi a Joaquin.

I kēia lā, ua kōkua ʻia ʻo Joaquin e ka Meia o Honolulu ʻo Peter Carlisle a me Kahu Curt Kekuna ma ka mākī i nā pōkaʻa o ko Hawaiʻi māla kaupoku kiwikā mua loa ma ke kaupoku o ka Auto Mart USA ma Kakaʻako.

“Ua like ka hua o kēia me ka nui o ke kīhāpai o ka ʻewalu ʻeka kona nui,” wahi a Joaquin.

ʻAʻole ahuwale ka hua i kēia manawa, akā ma loko o ka ʻekolu wale nō pule e loli ana kēia i kēia, a e mākaukau ana nā lauʻai e like me ka kale, arugula a me ka masakeke, no ka ʻohi ʻia.

Wehewehe mai ʻo Joaquin, “That produce is going to go to a combination of community, to chefs and to retail outlets such as Whole Foods.”

Wahi a Joaquin, pā ʻumi ka wikiwiki o ka ulu ʻana o nā meakanu ma kona ʻōnaehana ma mua o nā kīhāpai maʻamau, a emi mai ka nui o ka wai i hoʻohana ʻia ma ke 90 pākēneka.

Eia hou, no ka momona loa o ka lepo, hua mai ka mea ʻai i kapa ʻia e ia…

“ʻSuper Foods,ʻ no ka nui o nā minelala a māhuaola e pono ai ke olakino maikaʻi,” wahi a Joaquin.

ʻO kēia ka māhele mua wale nō o ke 38,000 kapuaʻi kuea o kēia māla kaupoku nei. He pāhana kēia na Nā Kula ʻo Kamehameha, ka haku ʻāina na lākou ka nuʻukia.

“Ke ʻimi nei i kaiāulu hāʻehuola, lupalupa a ō mau ma Kakaʻako,” wahi a Christian OʻConnor, ka Luna Hoʻokele ʻĀina o Nā Kula ʻo Kamehameha, “Manaʻolana mākou hele a laha kēia manaʻo.”

Kākoʻo akula ʻo Joaquin, “E waiho ana he 17 miliona kapuaʻi kuea o nā kaupoku pālahalaha ma Honolulu nei. Inā e kūkulu ʻia he ʻōnaehana FarmRoof ma ka 25 pākēneka o ia mau kaupoku ua hiki ke hoʻolako kūloko ʻia ka 100 pākēneka o ko kākou mea ʻai.”

Mea nui kēia ke hoʻomanaʻo kākou i ka halihali ʻia mai o ke 85 a ʻoi pākēneka o ka kākou meaʻai.

Alan Joaquin is taking farming to a whole new level – literally! Joaquin is the founder of Waimānalo-based FarmRoof.

“I have a lot of pride in saying that we are the first organically-certified green roof system in the world and thatʻs something that Hawaiʻi can be proud of, and that will never be taken away from us,” said Joaquin.

Today, Joaquin was joined by Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Kahu Curt Kekuna in rolling out Hawaiʻi’s first ever urban rooftop farm on the roof of Auto Mart USA in Kakaʻako.

“This roof will produce the same amount of food as an eight-acre farm thatʻs on the ground,” said Joaquin.

It’s hard to tell from the look of it, but in just three weeks this will turn into Kale, arugula and mustard greens, all ready for harvesting.

Joaquin explains, “That produce is going to go to a combination of community, to chefs and to retail outlets such as Whole Foods.”

This system grows 10 times faster and uses 90 percent less water than conventional farms. Plus, the nutrient-dense soil produces what he calls…

“We call all of our foods Super Foods, because the way that theyʻre grown infuses them with the minerals and the antioxidants and the flavonoids that our body needs to stay healthy and disease-free,” said Joaquin.

This is the first phase of the 38,000 square foot rooftop farm. The installation is part of landowner Kamehameha Schools’ vision for the area.

“Weʻre very excited at Kamehameha Schools. This is part of our desire to create a healthy, vibrant, sustainable community in Kakaʻako,” said Kamehameha Schoolsʻ Senior Asset Manager Christian O’Connor, “We also think that as development takes hold here this type of concept and the way in which weʻre demonstrating its potential will be adopted by others that help us build out this community.”

Joaquin agrees, “There is essentially 17 million square feet in Honolulu that are available for planting or solar PV or something. All flat roofs that are not being used for anything right now. If 25 percent of those roofs were utilized for FarmRoof to grow, letʻs say one crop – loose leaf lettuce – we could be 100 percent sustainable.”

Which is saying a lot. Let’s not forget that we import over 85 percent of our food.

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